Walkabout: Buenos Aires Edition
Sorry for the delay in blog entries. We’ve been traveling! Yay!
When Asa and I arrived in Buenos Aires it was a beautiful sunny day. The boat ride was really pleasant despite all the children running around. When we disembarked, our first order of business was to get “the picture” of the boat. We thankfully bypassed the lines of people waiting for bags and headed straight out the door. We wandered around the corner and instead of seeing the perfect shot of the boat, we came face to face with a three-masted tall ship docked in the harbor, the frigate Libertidad. It was open for tours, but we had all our stuff with us so decided not to partake. We got the best picture of our Buquebus boat that we could and headed toward the hotel.
As luck would have it, the street that the Buquebus terminal is on was one of the cross streets for our hotel. All we had to do was walk about 8 blocks and we were there, the Dazzler Tower Maipu. We walked in and told them we had a reservation. We managed to conduct the entire check-in process in Spanish and understood just about everything we were told. Success!
The room was just like any other room in any other decent hotel and had all the amenities. We were on the fifth floor, which was a little unfortunate because we already know the floor numbers up to five. We were hoping that the elevator could teach us the words “sixth”, “seventh”, “eighth”, etc… Oh well! Can’t say that the view was spectacular, but what can one expect in a city full of tall buildings stained by years of pollution.
Anyway, we dropped our stuff and headed out to explore the city. Out first stop was the obelisk. It looked like a mini Washington monument surrounded by a sea of cars. It is positioned in the middle of one of the largest roads in the world, Avenida 9 de Julio which has 24 lanes. All this we determined in subsequent days, because at our first look on Saturday afternoon the road was completely closed and barriers were set up everywhere. There was a rally car race through downtown Buenos Aires TC2000, with the Obelisk as one turnaround point. People were everywhere trying to get a good look at the cars as they came wizzing past.
We followed the race through the streets trying to get our own good look. We ended up with a fairly good view and quickly realized that there were more interesting things to be seen. We found ourselves in a large square opposite the Casa Rosada, the government building where Evita made her famous speech rallying the people of Argentina. They light the building with an insane number of bright pink lights, hence the Casa Rosada or pink house. As it was just starting the get dark we were able to revel in all it’s glory.
As we were taking the requisite photos and remarking about the extreme pinkness, we heard a trumpet. Of course we were just in time for the ceremonial lowering of the flag in the square. Seven uniformed guards performed the ceremony and then marched into the Casa Rosada.
After this we meandered our way to Puerto Madero, or the port in Buenos Aires. There are several pricy restaurants overlooking the port, another three-masted tall ship, and some ice cream stores. The port itself is divided into 4 or 5 sections via bridges. The outer-most bridge, closest to the Buquebus dock, opens every hour by rotating the entire section of the road that runs across the water into a parallel configuration which allows boats to pass through. Even the Puente de la Mujer, a fashionable bridge in the middle of the port, seemed to be capable of rotating to allow boats to pass. The yacht club was located in the outer-most section of the port and looked fairly upscale.
At this point, we were hungry and went to find a place to eat some dinner. We finally settled on a touristy spot on one of the main streets. We easily ordered Milanesa de ternera napolitana with french fries for two. Milanesa is a common breading for meats and can be found covering chicken or beef. It can then be fried or baked. Napolitana is a topping that includes a cut of ham, cheese, tomatoes, and some tomato sauce.